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Protecting Seniors Against Traumatic Brain Injuries

Meghana Giridhar - March 01, 2016 11:37 AM

An estimated 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic brain injury is a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a head injury that affects normal functioning of the brain. Seniors aged 75 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.

Effects could include impaired thinking, movement, vision or hearing problems, or personality changes as also depression. TBIs can also cause the formation of blood clots so it is imperative to visit a doctor immediately if the following signs are noted:

•    Headache that does not recede
•    Weakness
•    Inability to coordinate movements
•    Vomiting or nausea
•    Slurred speech
•    Consistent drowsiness
•    Seizures
•    Inability to recognize familiar faces or places
•    Increased agitation

Around 81% of TBIs in adults aged 65 and older was due to falls. However, these injuries can be prevented, especially when it comes to falls. Here are some tips for caregivers and seniors to protect themselves against potential TBIs.

Exercise: Balance and coordination are best accomplished through exercise which reduces the risk of falling. Please make sure to check with the doctor before resuming any particular regime.

Keeping the home environment safe: Remove items such as smooth rugs that can cause tripping. Everything should be within easy reach for seniors to avoid usage of stools. Bathrooms should have grab bars and non-stick mats. Lighting in the house should be bright. Handrails should be installed on staircases. Finally, safe, non-slip footwear with good support must be worn by seniors.

Check your vision: Eye glasses must be correct and tests for glaucoma or cataracts must be undergone regularly or based on the doctor’s recommendation. Driving tests must also be taken as one ages to ensure safety on the road.

Rest and a proper diet is key to feeling energetic.

Do not make decisions about medications without the approval of the doctor.

March is brain injury awareness month. Keeping the mind sharp and engaged is essential to a long, quality life without injuries.

Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Manager and is part of eCareDiary's founding team. In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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